SINGAPORE—Sixteen teams around the world will duke it out in the third installment of the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang World Championships to be held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre here from Monday, December 6 to 19.
Teams from the Philippines, neighbors in Southeast Asia, to as far as North and Latin America will compete for the lion’s share of the $800,000 (P40-million) prize pool.
Stakes are high for Philippine bets Blacklist International and Onic PH, as they seek to take the second straight title for the country after Bren Esports secured the M2 world championship last January.
After a dominant run that saw them defeat Onic PH and protect their MPL Philippines crown, Blacklist International are looking to cement their reputation as one of the crowd favorites to win the world title. But after a dismal MPLI Grand Finals finish, which saw them crumble 4-1 against Indonesia’s Onic Esports, Blacklist are expected to introduce new things to the table, as they have in the past.
After falling to Blacklist International in the MPL Philippines Grand Finals, Onic PH has their eyes on the world championship. In their second world championship appearance, they found themselves in the group of death, competing against Indonesian counterparts Onic Esports, Malaysian runners-up Todak, and Brazilian runners-up Vivo Keyd. To boot, Onic’s lineup versatility will be put to the test, with the 6-player requirement for the tourney.
Now as representatives for the stand-alone MPL in Singapore, back-to-back champions EVOS Esports SG and RSG SG will try to take another shot at the crown as they represent the host country.
After a dismal finish in M2, which saw RSG failing to make it to the playoffs and EVOS Esports SG barely making the cut, both squads will try to take a shot at redemption entering M3.
“And I think our new players have proven that they are mechanically more skilled than our old players mechanically . . . With that, we're more confident than M2,” EVOS manager and former player Stefan "Soul" Chong said.
Red Canids and Vivo Keyd are Brazilian MPL’s first representatives to M3, after the South American country recently mounted its own MPL. Known for their aggressive play style, both squads will look to not only shake things up in the meta but also to turn heads in their first world championship shot.
Red Canids team manager Geraldo Barbosa Rodrigues Jr. said they set their sights on M3 since the MPL started in Brazil this year.
“This is the first competition but they've been following the other regions for a while now. And actually they followed the campaigns of other Brazilian players that came to M1 and M2, so they are familiar with the other regions and who are the best players and the ones to face,” Rodrigues said.
SeeYouSoon will represent Cambodia in M3 after emerging as the champions in the inaugural MPL in their country, and the second Cambodian team overall to represent the country after Impunity KH — who represented Cambodia in M1, the SEA Games, and in M2 — fell in the MPL playoffs.
After fighting tooth and nail to become the champions of their local MPL tournament, they now have eyes on another prize: the world title.
Indonesia prides itself as a Mobile Legends powerhouse, having won the inaugural world championships and carrying powerhouse teams, some of which have represented the country in the SEA Games and given the Philippines a run for its money when the country hosted in 2019. Three-time world championship qualifier RRQ and kings of ML:BB Indonesia Onic Esports are representing the country.
Seen as a world title contender, Onic ID’s drafting and skill prowess propelled them to the top, eventually helping them emerge as the MPL Indonesia champs over RRQ in a hotly contested Grand Finals showdown, and adding the MPL Invitational title to their list of accolades as they took down Blacklist International in dominant fashion.
Meanwhile, RRQ will bank on their world title experience paired with their aggressive play style to dominate. With a bridesmaid finish in M1 and a heartbreaking exit that saw them lose to Bren Esports in the lower bracket finals of M2, they are now at their third shot of winning the title.
Argentinian squad Malvinas Gaming will represent Latin America in their first M3 appearance after emerging as champions in a hotly contested Latin American qualifier finals match against Mexico’s Skull Cracker.
Team SMG will seek to add to their immaculate ML:BB run with a shot at the world title. After taking the ML:BB scene in Malaysia by storm by coming out as a dark horse in the MPL, the Orange Tigers are ready for another hunt, this time to become the best ML:BB team in the world.
"I would say it's good to have this dark horse or underdog feeling because we're kind of used to it. Since the inception of MPL in our region, we've always been a dark horse or the underdog. I take it as a compliment that they actually put us as a candidate," head coach James “Jamesss” Chen told reporters.
With an M1 bronze finish and a varied range of strategies and heroes under their belt, Todak is no stranger to pursuing world titles. Known to bring unconventional heroes to the table (Akai in the jungle, anyone?) will they catch people off guard in M3?
Todak coach Sure Hazim said to expect new moves coming into M3, adding that they will try to barge into the upper bracket, even if they are in the so-called “group of death”
"Being in that group is not really giving us so much pressure. We will try to win all the game with Onic Indonesia and Onic Philippines and we will try our best to be in the upper bracket," Hazim said.
Replacing Middle East squad Akatsuki, UAE-based GX Squad will represent the region in M3.
With the unfamiliarity to their playstyle, they are expected to shock viewers with their entry to the world championships.
The first team from North America to compete in the worldwide ML:BB tournament, BTK, short for “Blood Thirsty Kings”, seek to establish themselves in the ML:BB scene after dominating North American tourneys.
Led by famed North American streamer MobaZane, they look to bring new things to the table heading into the competition.
Under a different organization, the boys of Deus Vult will now suit up for major esports club Natus Vincere for the world championship. After failing to qualify for the playoffs in the last installment of the worlds, the Russian squad looks for redemption this time around, now with a more professional setting.
In an interview with reporters, player Martynenko Andrii said their preparations under a new organization find them at a more professional setting.
“Back then, it was just a game for us. Now it's more like a job. It’s a huge difference.,” Andrii said.
Bedel will represent Turkey in M3, after emerging as the runaway winner in the Mobile Legends Turkey Championship 2021. They will look to capitalize on this as they hit Singaporean shores.